One of my favorite Recession stories this week concerns a high school history teacher in Idaho who's selling advertising space on tests. This isn't for personal gain, folks, he's just struck a deal with a local pizza delivery place that's willing to provide copy paper for the classroom - as long as there's a promotional coupon at the bottom of each page. Is this appalling? I don't think so, and neither does his school district. Budget cuts are dastardly, and every little bit helps.
If you know someone who teaches in the public schools, then you know how much hard-earned cash they plunk down out of their own pockets every year, Recession or not. Believe me, there's a reason why most states give teachers a small tax deduction to reimburse for out-of-pocket classroom expenses. Here in Arkansas the deduction is $250, a drop in the bucket, really, especially for those sainted elementary teachers who likely spend that much on construction paper alone.
I've traveled the back roads of Arkansas giving poetry workshops and such, and learned quickly to bring my own chalk and markers. Nothing new around here, so my hat's off to this enterprising history teacher. He's not only stretched his classroom budget, he's teaching his students something important about financial creativity.
I wonder if he's tested those kids over the Great Depression yet?